Coup Attempt: Turkey Blocks WikiLeaks for Publishing 300,000 Government Emails


Turkey has blocked access to WikiLeaks, after about 300,000 emails and 500,000 documents from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), were put online as Ankara grapples following,  a failed military coup.

The emails date from 2010 to 6 July this year. Obtained before the attempted coup, the date of their publication was brought forward “in response to the government’s post-coup purges”, WikiLeaks said, adding that the source of the emails was not connected to the coup plotters or to a rival political party or state.

MIAMI - JULY 26:  The homepage of the website is seen on a computer after leaked classified military documents were posted to it July 26, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  WikiLeaks, an organization based in Sweden which publishes anonymous submissions of sensitive documents from governments and other organizations, released some 91,000 classified documents that span the past six years of U.S. combat operations in the war Afghanistan. (Photo Illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
 (Photo Illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

According to Turkey’s Telecommunications Communications Board , “an “administrative measure” had been taken against the website – the term it commonly uses when blocking access to sites. Turkey routinely uses internet shutdowns in response to political events, which critics and human rights advocates see as part of a broader attack on the media and freedom of expression”.

Reacting to the issue, ex NSA contractor Edward Snowden tweeted that the validity of the leaked emails was proven by Turkey’s attempts to retaliate. A senior Turkish official also added that the ban was imposed on the WikiLeaks content because it constituted stolen or illegally obtained information.

The prohibition came hours before a high-level national security council meeting that will, for the first time since the coup attempt, bring together the president, top cabinet and military officials in Ankara to discuss policies in response to Friday’s coup attempt.

The government has already launched a wide-ranging crackdown, detaining and purging thousands of police officers, judges, prosecutors, teachers and university staff that officials say is aimed at loyalists of the exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen. They have also imposed a travel ban on academics, which officials said was a temporary measure because accomplices of the coup plotters in universities were a flight risk.

The travel ban comes a day after the board ordered the resignation of 1,577 deans at all universities across Turkey. In a another move , the education ministry also revoked the licences of 21,000 teachers working in private institutions.